The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which allied with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for both parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, beat forecasts of almost all pollsters by keeping its votes at around 11 percent, according to initial results by state-run Anadolu Agency.
The nationalist party, which backed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the presidential race, achieved an estimated 49 seats in the new 600-member parliament, according to results that still require the election board’s approval.
In the latest parliamentary elections in November 2015, the nationalist party only got 40 out of 550 seats, which later went down to 35, mainly due to intra-party problems.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli was the first political leader to suggest rescheduling the elections to a year-and-a-half before its original date on April 18. After parliament approved a bill on April 20, Bahçeli and Erdoğan declared they would enter both elections with the “People’s Alliance,” officially launched on May 1.
Contrary to many analysts who said the move would help the party bypass the 10 percent electoral threshold, the MHP secured its position and is now likely to be a key player in helping the AKP maintain a parliamentary majority.
Despite his open support to Erdoğan, Bahçeli recently engaged in an exchange of words with AKP officials, saying only two days before elections that “everything would be over” with the People’s Alliance if the government repeats its “past mistakes.”
“We already said that we would support Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the presidential elections. As a result, he would be the head of the executive branch. [But] we want a strong MHP in parliament. Erdoğan can form the government as he wants, this is his business. If they repeat the mistakes done by [former Prime Minister] Ahmet Davutoğlu, everything will be over,” Bahçeli said during a live interview on private broadcasters Habertürk and Show TV late June 22.
Bahçeli on June 22 also criticized Erdoğan for using the word “coalition” while discussing possible scenarios for the aftermath of the June 24 elections.
Meral Akşener, the founder and head of the İYİ (Good) Party, apparently failed to lure votes from her former party MHP.
After unsuccessfully racing for MHP leadership, Akşener quit the party in 2016 and announced the establishment of İYİ Party on Oct. 25, 2017.
The party slightly surpassed 10 percent, gaining 46 seats in parliament in the June 24 elections. But Akşener, who also ran as a presidential candidate, slightly passed 7 percent of the votes.
Akşener herself will not be in parliament next term because presidential candidates cannot run for lawmaker seats, according to recent constitutional changes.